Tribal Leadership Insight: The Principles of Effective Triads

November 19, 2011

John King and Dave Logan concluded after a ten year, 24,000-person study, that 75% of our corporate cultures are ineffective. (Published as Tribal Leadership 2008) The good news is that it doesn’t have to be that way. One of the great insights of their research was that the 24% of organizations that were effective had one major difference—they met in “triads”. A triad, at its most basic level, is three people that meet together. The objective is to create a peer-to-peer-to-peer relationship for accomplishing a mutual purpose. What follows are the best practices or principles for creating effective triads.

  1. Common Interest. “Triads are based on core values and mutual self-interest.” The purpose of three people meeting is to contribute to one another towards a common goal or cause. What is your mutual interest?
  2. Collaboration. The way of being in a triad is supportive. It’s ‘I’ve got your back and you’ve got mine’ or ‘all for one and one for all’. “The triad provides a level of support that often comes as a surprise to people.” (p191)
  3. Authenticity. Authenticity is being real with one another. It is transparency and speaking the naked truth without fear of looking bad or holding back out of fear of rejection.
  4. Contribution. It is a way of being with one another, where the intention is always to come from contribution and not ego or judgment. “Once the triad is established, all the roles merge and morph, requiring each person to contribute to, and receive contributions from, the other two.” (p 204) It is like a flock of geese, where each goose takes a turn leading. Each person in the triad steps in when it is appropriate. Triads are vibrant, values-based, and filled with people giving their best efforts—leading and being led at the same time.” (p 185)
  5. Identify & leverage core values. “Values are only manifest when they are called and they are only called when they are missing; when a value is missing, the anchor presences the value.” An anchor is a device that is used to connect a vessel to prevent it from drifting due to wind or current. In a triad, the anchor connects each person to their values in order to prevent the relationship from drifting. Each person is an anchor for the quality of the relationship between the other two, and consciously nurtures the relationship.

Way of Being:

  • Be Authentic
  • Be Accepting
  • Be Present
  • Be Useful

Value of Triads:

  • Opportunity to get an unbiased perspective from peers that have no hidden agenda
  • Help with decisions, challenges, problems
  • Expertise, diversity and experience of team members
  • Fresh ideas and perspectives
  • Share resources
  • Benchmark
  • Strategize
  • Hold one another accountable

Book Summary: Great by Choice by Jim Collins

November 12, 2011

Jim Collins is a legend in the business world, and for good reason. His latest book – Great by Choice: Uncertainty, Chaos, and Luck–Why Some Thrive Despite Them All - takes a look at some remarkable companies who were able to outperform their industry index by over 10 times over a lengthy span of time. Do you want to know how you can do the same for your company? Get a free 30 day subscription today and watch the summary.

When Jim Collins wrote his best-selling book, Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap… and Others Don’t, he became an instant business hero. Executives from around the world aspired to be Level 5 leaders and focused intently on finding their hedgehog concepts. But there was a question that remained unanswered: in a world that is increasingly in financial turmoil and constant change, how do you succeed?

In a methodology similar to Good to Great, Collins and his team studied companies that were in industries where there was a constant state of change, and found that there were some companies that outperformed the marketplace by a significant margin.

He called these the 10x companies, because they all had outperformed their “industry index” by more than 10 times over the span of the study. In fact, on average, the 1 0 x companies outperformed the marketplace as a whole by 32 times. If it sounds to you like these would be some good companies to learn from, you’d be right. What Collins and his team concluded was that there were 4 main attributes of a 10x company:

  1. Fanatical Discipline
  2. Empirical Creativity
  3. Productive Paranoia
  4. Level 5 ambition

How to Manage Your Sales Force & Get Superior Results

November 9, 2011

Ask any Vistage member “Who has been among the best speakers you’ve heard on increasing sales and profit margins?” and the name Jack Daly is always on every Vistage CEO’s list.

Jack has made over 500 presentations to the CEOs of our Vistage CEO Groups and has been a successful CEO in his own right.  Jack has built six companies, selling two to Wall Street firms; led a sales force of 2,600 in hundreds of offices that created $42 million in profits in three years and was named Entrepreneur of the Year by Ernst & Young and ranked #10 on the Inc. 500 list of the fastest growing firms nationwide.  In short, he’s been there and done it….and here’s how.

The key ingredient to increasing profits is enhancing sales management. Your sales force is only as good as your sales leadership. This workshop has been designed to make positive results happen through more profitable selling. A sampling of areas to be covered includes the following:

  • Recruiting top-selling professionals
  • Field sales coaching
  • Getting sales people committed to your business goals
  • Establishing and measuring minimum performance standards
  • Communication, team building, and recognition tactics
  • A CEO action agenda

The emphasis is on street-tested (not theory) sales management techniques that are immediately implementable and that show in enhanced profitability.

Value: Participants will benefit from this seminar by taking away at least five ideas they can incorporate into their business. Significantly more ideas are shared to ensure each business gets several key actions to implement. Many of the ideas are easily transferable to areas beyond sales; however, Daly’s examples are positioned from the sales perspective. A workbook with applicable forms, examples, and schedules will be provided to each participant. He presents solid ideas for building, managing, and monitoring a sales force and sales program.

Want a sample? Watch a 25 minute video of Jack Daly by clicking here.


10 Great Ways to Find Great Ideas, FAST

November 5, 2011

Photo Courtesy of Carolyn Coles


The most lucrative ideas are found, not created.

Finding your next big thing is a lot more like “Finding Waldo” than you think. The ideas are out there waiting to be discovered – for those who are looking. This becomes especially true when you are in a world and marketplace that is changing as fast as it is today.

How to track down your next big idea? Here are 10 useful questions you can ask yourself to find the hidden clues to your next breakthrough:

1. This product should already exist (but it doesn’t). Is there something that you feel should exist in your marketplace?

2. There is a needlessly complicated and frustrating customer service. Can you remove friction from the customer service in a new and novel way (think Netflix)?

3. A resource or asset is priced too low. Are there arbitrage opportunities to acquire assets that will be worth more in the near future?

4. This is a good discovery, we’re just not sure for what, yet. Is there a technology or discovery that you see a killer use for, but nobody else does yet?

5. This should be everywhere, but it isn’t. Have you discovered a product/service or business model that should have a large market adoption, but doesn’t?

6. People have started using products/services in new ways, but don’t have the necessary support. Are people using products/services in ways that are not intended by the producer?

7. People shouldn’t want this product/service, but they do. Is there a product/service in your portfolio that seems to perform well, even though you didn’t predict it would?

8. People are using products/services that you aren’t offering or recommending. Are people using things even though you think they shouldn’t?

9. The product/service is selling well elsewhere, but not here. Is there a product or service in another part of the world that hasn’t reached your market yet?

10. The product/service shouldn’t be making so much money. Is there a product or service where the margins are much higher than you expected them to be?

How to apply it to your business

Make a habit (once a week) to ask yourself these questions. Better still; ask your entire team to answer them as well. It is the constant application of the model that will help you find your next breakthrough idea.

DEEPER DIVE: READ the Whole STORY: http://www.strategy-business.com/article/11304?gko=ce28d


A Tribal Leaders Guide to Upgrade Your Company Culture

October 31, 2011

Just as birds flock and fish school, people tribe. A tribe is a naturally forming group of 20 to 150 people. Smaller companies can be a single tribe. In larger organizations, there can be many tribes; for instance, it is easy to spot the cultural difference between sales and engineering departments. Tribes also operate at different cultural stages, which can positively or negatively impact your results as an organization. A high performing tribe can be three to five times more productive.

Measuring Culture

How do leaders change their company culture and become a high performing tribe? Like the old joke about eating an elephant, the answer is one bite at a time. The book
Tribal Leadership: Leveraging Natural Groups to Build a Thriving OrganizationTribal Leadership: Leveraging Natural Groups to Build a Thriving Organization, is the result of a 10-year study of over 24,000 people. Authors Dave Logan, John King, and Halee Fischer-Wright recognized culture strategies failed 70 percent of the time. In their inquiry as to why this occurred, they discovered Peter Drucker’s statement that “culture eats strategy for breakfast” was true.

One of the challenges to cultural change is that it has been difficult to measure and you can’t manage what you don’t measure. We can assess a culture by observing the language people in the tribe use in their everyday conversations. These observations can be classified into five different stages. The study found that the stages form a bell curve, with the majority of workplace tribes at Stage Three. By observing and classifying the people that work for you into these five stages, you will be able to lead them to the next highest level. The impact of moving a tribe up one level is an increase of three to five times in productivity and profits.

Read the full article in the NY Enterprise Report.



Emotional Intelligence is the Secret to Leadership Success

October 20, 2011


Research suggests the higher you go in an organization, the more EQ matters. In a study of more than 515 senior global executives, the most successful had the strongest emotional intelligence. (A recent Harvard University study reveals that 90% – 95% of one’s success in leadership positions in organizations is attributed to EQ or EI and only 5% to 10% to IQ.)

If you are a NYC based CEO or business owner, you may qualify to come to a complimentary workshop that Vistage Speaker Bob Anderson is giving in Manhattan. In this highly interactive and scientifically based presentation, Bob will present the four emotional abilities that are critical for effective leadership and personal and professional success. Experiencing the Mayer-Salvoy-Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test (MSCEIT) Vistage members will be learn how well they:

Identify Emotions: Accurately recognize how you and those around you are feeling.

Using Emotions: Generate emotions and use emotions in cognitive tasks such as problem solving and creativity.

Understand Emotions: Understand complex emotions and emotional consequences, and how emotions transition from one stage to another.

Manage Emotions: Intelligently integrate the data of emotions in yourself and in others to devise effective strategies that help you achieve positive outcomes.

Why Does EI Matter to CEOs?

For much of the 20th Century, emotions and moods were thought to be superfluous to the workplace. Feelings were popularly considered to be illogical and detrimental to productivity. But emotions are not extraneous experiences that come upon us without good reason. Current research tells us that emotions are integral to our success in both our personal and professional lives. Emotions cannot be divorced from decision-making and problem solving as previously thought. Rather than interfering with good decision making, emotions are in fact necessary and critical for effective decisions (e.g. Damasio, 1994)

Emotions help people to cope, survive, and thrive in their environment. Without access to the signals and information conveyed by emotions, critical information can be missed, leading to decisions that could result in less desirable outcomes. The ability to accurately identify emotions in yourself and in other, and to effectively utilize this emotional data, is the essence of emotional intelligence. Gauging how a team is responding to change, determining whether to trust your gut feeling, or predicting how people with react to an idea area all emotionally-based skills

Particpants leave with techniques, strategies, and an action plan to develop the four EI Abilities. The MSCEIT report they receive as well as the developmental strategies allow Vistage members to continuously monitor and focus their EI development in order to realize desired personal and business results.


How to Turbo-Charge your Business

October 16, 2011

In business, you need the right business tools and know-how to be successful. I just watched and listened to The Lean Startup, a visual book summary from fellow Vistage member Steve Cunningham. In a nutshell, businesses need to build, measure, and learn as fast as possible to increase their chances to create a sustainable business. One crucial task is to create metrics that are actionable, accessible and audit-able.

I learned about metrics from Vistage speaker Kragi Kramers, an eight-time veteran CEO and author of CEO Tools: The Nuts-n-Bolts of Business for Every Manager’s Success. It absolutely changed the way I ran my business and my life.

If you are a NYC based CEO, business owner, or C-Level executive, you may qualify to come to a complimentary workshop that Kraig is giving in Manhattan. He will put easy-to-use management tools directly in your hands to make more money and improve your success immediately. These are “go-do-it” tools, not just more “how to” lessons.

In this workshop, you will learn the how and why of Key Indicators as well as methodologies for insuring that key executives can use them effectively.

This session will include:

  • Why key indicators at all?
  • Making key indicators work for you!
  • What should key indicators be?
  • Key Indicator Starter Set.
  • Advanced Key Indicators.
  • How to get CEOs to use key indicators.
  • Implementation tools.
  • Reviewing KI’s at monthly meetings.
  • Summary: Key Indicators & tracking.

CEOs, Do You Know How to Motivate the Millennial Generation?

September 28, 2011
For the first time in human history, there are four generations in the workforce. There are 44 million Traditionalists, 80 million Baby Boomers, 68 million Generation Xers and 72 million Millennials, or Gen Yers. There will be no escaping the demographic reality that in the very near future: 80 million retiring Baby Boomers and only 72 million Millennials to replace them. This will create an employee vacuum in the workforce, increasing demand and competition for Gen Y employees, and augmenting the challenges of leading a multigenerational workforce.Participants will walk away with actionable information regarding:

  • Generational Differences
  • Gen Y Challenges
  • Gen Y Strengths
  • Recruiting and Retaining Gen Y: Implementing five “magnet factors” that attract and keep the best of Gen Y in your workforce
  • Strategies and Tactical Steps to Better Manage Gen Y: An eight-factor action list

Dr. Gustavo will identify for each participant his/her own organizational “magnet factor” strengths and challenges as well as identify immediate tactical steps s/he can take to overcome those “magnet factor” challenges. Given the reality of the demographics, every industry will be competing for the same people. Understanding and managing these factors will ensure success for the Vistage participants’ businesses.

Biography: Gustavo Grodnitzky has a Ph.D. in clinical and school psychology and has extensive experience in interpersonal communications, strategic planning, change management and development of organizational culture. He has been a consultant for corporations and individual executives, working with management and staff to increase their effectiveness and success at numerous Fortune 500, mid-sized and smaller companies. Dr. Gustavo has presented at a variety of national and international professional conferences, has written numerous manuscripts for publication and is often called on to review books and manuscripts prior to publication.


“I don’t like to micro-manage, but I need to know everything that’s going on.”

September 12, 2011

I laughed out loud when I read, “The 32 Dumbest Things That Real-Life Managers Said” in Geoffrey James blog. Here are my favorite top ten. Click the link to read all of them. They are funny because they are true! Which Tribal Leadership Stage do you think these managers are in?

  1. “Am I the only one around here with half a brain?!”
  2. “I’m sorry if I ever gave you the impression your input would have any effect on my final decision.”
  3. “Don’t worry, give it a try. You have nothing to fear but failure, demotion and termination.”
  4. “I’m getting a new company car new week. Please call the dealer and ask him to delay the delivery until after Wednesday’s layoffs. I want to appear sensitive.”
  5. “I don’t want to force this decision on you. It would be much easier if you just agree.”
  6. “I’ve already made up my mind, but I am eager to hear everything you have to say on the matter.”
  7. “I know there is a communication problem in my department. I just don’t want to talk about it.”
  8. “We have too many unproductive meetings. Please put aside next Wednesday to attend an all-employee staff meeting to discuss this issue.”
  9. “We do things democratically in my department…and I’m the ruler.”
  10. “Whenever you have an idea, discuss it with me first, and if I feel it is a good idea, I’ll tell the others. You must learn to let me get credit for your good ideas. That’s what team work is all about.”

CEO List of Best Restaurants in NYC

July 16, 2011

In our Vistage meeting yesterday, I surveyed the CEOs and asked them for the best restaurants in NYC. Our speaker was from Los Angeles and wanted to take his wife out to dinner. For those that are not familiar with a Vistage meeting, this is a group of a dozen of Manhattan’s top business owners and CEOs that meet once a month to serve as a peer advisory group. Members help one another make better decisions by getting feedback from an unbiased group of peers and learn to become better leaders through expert speaker workshops.

Here are the top 13 restaurants in NYC in no particular order:

  1. Jean Georges—French; the original overlooking Central Park
  2. Eleven Madison Park–French
  3. Blue Hill –American; (President Obama ate here)
  4. Gotham Bar & Grill –American
  5. Marea–Seafood
  6. Il Mulino—Italian; (President Obama ate here)
  7. Telepan–American
  8. Pepolino–Italian
  9. Colicchio & Sons—American
  10. Buddakan–Asian
  11. Hearth – American
  12. Old Homestead –Steak
  13. Scalletta—Italian

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